11 May 2010

Thai protestors accept proposed election date

6:03 am on 11 May 2010

Anti-government protestors in Thailand say they accept a proposed election date in November and the timetable suggested for parliament's dissolution.

But they will continue their demonstrations in Bangkok until deputy prime minister Suthep Thaungsuban hands himself into the police over the deaths of more than 25 people on 10 April.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva offered on 3 May to dissolve parliament in September and hold early elections on 14 November.

At a news conference on Monday, the red-shirts said they broadly accepted the timeframe laid down in the road-map.

But they said that they wanted to ensure there were no double standards in the repercussions before agreeing to end their protests.

They said many of their members had been accused of terrorism or been subject to arrest warrants, so Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep should be subject to the same scrutiny.

They noted Mr Abhisit has parliamentary immunity but said Mr Suthep should surrender to police to face accusations of murder.

The BBC reports Mr Suthep was in charge of security operations when 25 people were killed in a failed attempt to disperse protesters on 10 April. His role was subsequently given to General Anupong Paojinda.

The protests began on 14 March. The Bangkok shopping district has been occupied since 3 April.